Big box retailers see record sales as local stores struggle during the pandemic

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DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — Target reported recorded-setting sales growth online and at established stores over the last quarter, more evidence that big box retailers have become essential points of supply during the pandemic.

The trend follows similar announcements from Walmart and Home Depot. Both retailers note a big boom in online and curbside-pickup sales.

The shift in behavior is reshaping the retail landscape at the expense of mall-based retailers and other smaller stores forced to close this year. Many were struggling before the pandemic because of what Americans buy and where they buy it.

The pandemic has put those retailers in further in peril.

Dozens, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J.Crew, have filed for bankruptcy protection this year. Another wave is expected in the fall with the U.S. failure to contain the virus accelerating the demise of more companies in the sector.

Americans came to rely on big box retailers for supplies early when the economy was under lock down. The surge in new infections is keeping Americans closer to home in many places, and they’re increasingly relying on same-day delivery and curbside pickup. Big box retailers had pushed aggressively into those areas before the pandemic, attempting to keep pace with Amazon.com.

The trend has many cities launching “buy local” initiatives in hopes of supporting local business that are struggling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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